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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 7 | May 2, 2002

Reduce the Stigma Attached to Financial Assistance

But increase the number of students who receive it, survey says.

A recent series of consultation meetings and open forums coupled with on-line surveys and e-mail feedback have revealed that students would like to see an increase in financial support along with a reduction in the stigma some students associate with that support.

Last March, when the Board of Governors approved tuition increases, it set aside $4.2 million, or 20 per cent of the increase for student financial support, and designated $7.5 million for enhanced learning and student support. This was in further support of the board's long-standing policy that no qualified BC student should ever be denied admission strictly for financial reasons.

During tuition consultations prior to the Board meeting last March, students made it clear that they wanted the allocation of tuition revenue to be transparent as well as a provision for accountability. The Board of Governors agreed and requested details on the proposed allocations for the May 2002 meeting.

Since the March board meeting, hundreds of students have attended open forums, more than 400 e-mails have been received and about 3,000 students responded to an on-line survey.

"We were thrilled with how many students took the opportunity to respond," says Michelle Aucoin, a development officer in the office of the Vice-president, Students.

Feedback from undergraduates and post-baccalaureate students includes support for the work-study program, need-based financial support, more flexibility in the Canada Student Loan program, and financial awards to recognize student leadership, mentorship and volunteer activities. They also suggest increasing the value of the University Scholars program and reducing the stigma that some students associate with financial assistance.

Graduate students agree that the stigma should be reduced but they would like to see an increase in the number of students receiving financial support rather than increasing support to students who already receive it. Other suggestions include ensuring greater equity of funding across faculties, providing financial support that can be recognized within academia, allocating funding to attract graduate students to UBC and providing need-based assistance for students without other financial support.

Last year, UBC awarded more than $36 million in merit-based scholarships and $5 million in need-based bursaries. More than 11,000 UBC students benefit from assistance.

If you would like to contribute a comment or suggestion please e-mail them to tuition@interchange.ubc.ca. Information received from that feedback will be tabled at the next Board of Governors meeting on May 16th along with a suggested allocation of the revenue from the tuition increase.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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